BUSINESSES on a Blackburn industrial estate were evacuated after a fire broke out.

Firefighters were called to Presspart Manufacturing Ltd to deal with a fire involving faulty acetylene cylinders.

Acetylene is an industrial gas used for metal cutting and welding, and can be exteremely dangerous when involved in an uncontrolled fire.

The blaze was extinguished relatively quickly, but as the cylinders are potentially highly explosive, firefighters remained on the scene for several hours, using specialist equipment to fully cool the cylinders and secure the area.

A second business, First 4 Print Finishing Ltd, was also evacuated, and a 100m exclusion zone was set up around Philips Road and Cunliffe Road.

The cordon was in place until around 1pm on Friday and police were stationed at the scene.

Several people were at work at both businesses when the fire was discovered by a Presspart employee, who quickly raised the alarm.

Station Manager Steve Morgan from Blackburn fire station said: “The guy came into work as he would usually do, and noticed the fire.

“He got everyone out, and called us out.

“The fire involved acetylene and oxygen cylinders and for us, and all fire and rescue authorities, acetylene is something that we have very strict procedures for.

“We have been working with people working in other businesses in the area, to get them into work in a controlled and safe environment.”

Firefighters used specialist equipment to extinguish the fire and cool the cyclinders with water from a distance, which allowed them to stay away from the hazardous gas.

Temperature readings were taken from the cylinders until it was determined that there was no risk of explosion, and it was safe for the cordon to be removed.

Nobody from Presspart or First 4 Print Finishing Ltd was available for comment yesterday.